I love this combination of rich scallop, salty pancetta, peppery cress, and sweet Corn Cream sauce. Dry-pack scallops are those that are never put in seawater or brine and are much firmer and meatier as a result. You’ll probably have to ask your fishmonger to order these ahead of time for you. If scallops are unavailable, substitute firm white fish, such as halibut or sea bass. You can also certainly do the recipe without the pancetta wrap, if desired.
Gently unwind the pancetta and then wrap it around each scallop. Secure with a toothpick, if necessary. Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed sauté pan over medium-high heat until very hot and just beginning to smoke. Using tongs, carefully place the scallops flat side down and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Turn and cook the other side until browned, about 1 minute. Resist the temptation to move the scallops around so that they can brown quickly and evenly.
Arrange the watercress leaves in the center of warm plates (a nice touch) and place the scallops on top. Spoon the Corn Cream around and garnish with a grinding or two of black pepper. Serve.
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